Fernando Alonso insists that he remains confident of being able to add a third f1 world championship to his collection, but admits that he can do little to influence the battle.
Having seen main rival Sebastian Vettel claim four straight victories to wipe out his points advantage heading to India last weekend, Alonso maintained that the German had to run into problems at some stage on the run-in. On Saturday night, that prediction appeared to have come true, when Vettel was stripped of third place on the grid for failing to provide an adequate fuel sample, but, by the same time on Sunday, Alonso was left to celebrate just a three-point reduction in his deficit after the Red Bull driver joined him on the podium.
With two races remaining on the schedule – back-to-back in the USA and Brazil later this month – a ten-point gap could easily be overcome with 50 points on the table, but Alonso admits that the outcome is largely out of his hands.
“At the end, I think there is nothing we can do, we just need to concentrate on our race and, if we finish in front of Sebastian in the next two races, then maybe we have a chance,” he conceded, “That's our concentration now.
“Yes, I'm confident [and] we will fight until the end. We are not fast enough, this is true, and we are honest with ourselves, we know this. We need to accept this. It's a weak point, the performance that we have at the moment in our package, but we have some strong points which we will try to use.”
As has been the case so many times in 2012, Alonso's race result outdid what many – including Ferrari – expected, and the Spaniard conceded that the podium was a bonus in Abu Dhabi.
“The simulations we had gave us the possibility to finish fifth or sixth, so we were not very optimistic,” he revealed, “Despite what Sebastian was doing in the race, we were taking eight, ten points maximum in our simulations. He did a very good race and was able to use the [Red Bull's] performance in some of the parts of the race when he was in clean air - plus the safety cars, I think, put the group all together.
“We had to fight all through the race. [In] the first laps, we did some good overtaking and then a very good strategy gave us the ability to fight at the end for the victory. In the last couple of laps, Kimi [Raikkonen] was a little bit slower, so we attacked, but second, I think, was the maximum today.
“[With] eight laps to go, there was no more concern about the tyres. Obviously, doing one stop, you never know how the tyres will finish the race, and also, after the last safety car, we saw Sebastian with the soft [tyre] and the first three of us, we were with the prime, so we didn't know how much a threat he was to fight until the last lap. After they lost a little bit of time, Jenson and Sebastian, we didn't care any more about the tyres, so I pushed 150 per cent for eight laps and tried to catch Kimi, but it was never enough to be within one second for the DRS….”